1957 Nomad Restoration

I bought the car back in 2000 after finding it advertised in the local Ad Sack. It was last titled in New Hampshire. They must use salt on the roads up there in the winter because this car had serious rust issues. But because the Nomad is relatively rare, I decided to tackle it. I initially ordered all the floor pan repair panels and the rocker panel for the passenger side. It then sat in various places on my property until I moved it into my newly built shop in 2002. I disassembled what was there and made an inventory of what I had and what was missing/needed. It languished sitting in the shop until 2006 when I actually began the bodywork. I tackled the passenger side first, replacing the floor pans, rocker panel and floor bracing all the way back to the rear cargo deck. Work stopped in early 2007 as other priorities took over and it languished again until March 2016 when the urge to resume work returned. It took a couple of days just to clean off all the stuff that had ended up in, on top, beside, and underneath the car.

The following are pictures from the work done in the 2006 time frame:

Inside bottom of the passenger side door.

Outside bottom of the passenger side door.

Passenger door-front.

Passenger door-top front

Passenger door-portion of front replaced, new inner bottom panel.

New partial outer skin panel installed.

Passenger side front floorboard, door pillar and rocker panel prior to repair.

Rotted floorboard/door pillar/rocker panel removed.

The door and rocker panel installed.

Passenger front floor pan installed, under seat panel removed.

Panel under seat installed.

Passenger side rear seat floorboard.

Forward portion of quarter panel removed for access to inner wheel well.

Panel under rear seat replaced.

Inner wheel well under repair.

Fast forward to March 2016. Work has finally resumed. I had worked along the right side quarter panel but realized I couldn't finish this work until the cargo deck had been repaired. It's in bad shape so this is going to take awhile.

Cargo/spare tire well area prior to repair:

The spare tire well is in rough shape and needs to come out:

The tail pan has been removed:

The spare tire well assembly spot welds were drilled out and the assembly removed. The gas tank top is completely rusted out...better put that on the list of parts to buy:

The cargo floor "extensions" removed. These are the panels on either side of the spare tire well.

The right leaf spring has been dropped. The crossmember assembly is coming out the side.

The crossmember assembly removed, underside and topside of the assembly.

The #2 crossmember (second from rear) has been removed. I couldn't find a reproduction brace so it looks like repair time.

Up next was the rear crossmember replacement. This assembly consists of the rear crossmember itself, side supports and "scoops" that form the rear body mounts. Fortunately rear crossmembers are reproduced and there are two versions: one with the hinge pockets, hinge bolt plates and cages and one without. To save about $200 I bought the latter but then had to install my own hinge pockets and hardware. The following two pictures show the installation:

The rear body mount scoops were fabricated next. Unfortunately reproductions were not available so they had to be fabricated. I first made a template out of project board and then used 1/8" flat plate of various widths to get the job done. The following two pictures show the template, the pieces, and the scoop tack welded in place to determine fit:

With the rear crossmember fitting properly, it was time to rebuild the passenger side tailgate opening lower corner. It was completely rusted out but fortunately the drivers side was intact. I reproduced the corner using five individual template pieces and then welded them in place after cutting out the old section to good metal:

And now, the daunting task of rebuilding the tailgate. These are available for $1,000 plus shipping. In an attempt to save some more money, I decided to rebuild it. One benefit of rebuilding it is that I could make the tailgate fit exactly to the opening. I first loosely installed the tailgate. Overall, the fit was good considering the amount of work that had taken place so far. I noted the gap along the right side was not even, increasing near the middle. And along the bottom, there was no gap near the middle. It turned out the tailgate was originally manufactured with those edges. They would obviously need to be corrected.

The tailgate rebuild begins. The following are pics of the initial condition, rebuilding the outer braces/hinge mounting points, rebuilding the inner braces, rebuilding the lower inner panel and rebuilding the lower inner corners:

At this point, I test fitted the tailgate. All was not well...I had a huge gap along the bottom. I had obviously chosen the wrong angle for the hinge mount point so this had to be modified. The new angle did the trick.

With the hinge mount points corrected, work proceeded on rebuilding the rest of the lower inner panel: